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Atomic Sapper Tom
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in A Force For Good In Our Time's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, October 31st, 2010
9:28 pm
Is it too early to start eating the "leftover" Halloween candy?
Friday, April 3rd, 2009
9:51 am
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
9:20 am
SCA question:
"explain the selection of Royalty in the SCA"

An online friend is trying to write down this process.

Generally, I like to avoid re-inventing the wheel. Somebody, somewhere, has to have written this down before.
Friday, December 26th, 2008
12:04 am
A second day of Honey-Baked Ham (TM) at my brother's place, with lots of family. And more green-bean casserole!

Best of all, Mom's pumpkin pie.

Oh, and the niecelings and nephlings liked all their gifts, even the "weird" ones from Central America.
Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
10:15 pm
Inkspot update
Just for holiday cheer, SIL dropped off Inkspot yesterday since she'll be working over the holiday; Madam is much cheered since she's greatly missed the little imp.

So have I.
10:09 pm
Christmas Eve
We're both missing our Wundermutt, The Wee Atomic Beastie, but are looking forward to being scolded by her on Sunday for being gone for so very, very, very long.

Dinner was an excellent Honey-Baked Ham (TM) plus home-made sides of potatoes and the famous redneck casserole (green beans with fried onions and cream of mushroom soup). We likes it we does.

Madam Atomic burned up lots of wifely points when she sent me off at 6:05 pm to buy more wrapping paper. Giant had only hanna-montana wrapping paper (who-T-F is hanna montana?), no pecan turtles; so I headed for CVS, along with all of Montgomery County.

I got Madam a nice red velvet bag with three lumps of coal and gave it to her during dinner.

After dinner I gave her the box-o-chocolates that she deserves for the other 99.9 percent of the year.

Tomorrow p.m. we'll head over to my side of the family for Christmas Day festivities at one of my brother's. There'll be more HBH (TM), &tc. I'm bringing Gluehwein, among other things.


And so do I.
Monday, December 15th, 2008
10:43 pm
Inkspot just left with her new "mommy," my sister-in-law. They were introduced a couple of days ago and we even had Inkspot over at her house for some familiarization. She called when they arrived; Inkspot did a Houdini and worked her way out of the harness she was in that was supposed to keep her securely seated in the backseat of SIL's car. At least (this time) Inkspot didn't decide to stick her cold nose in the driver's ear and then climb into the frontseat to help with the driving. Which is what she did to me when I took her to the vet in Central America to get her travel paperwork done.

Inkspot is a real charmer and already has SIL wrapped around her little paw. Plus she clearly loves SIL; she got very excited to see her when she first came over this afternoon.

Both MadamAtomic and I miss the little wretch but are happy to see her go to a good home where she'll be well cared for and loved.
Sunday, December 7th, 2008
2:59 pm
The Inkspot Has Landed!
Madam Atomic and I have, after much travel, arrived in the U.S. with our prize, the very-rescued Inkspot, Canus Potlickerus, for delivery to her sister later this week.

American Airlines was wonderful, both at the departure end in Central America as well as in Miami and at Reagan; even the airport security in Miami as well as the Customs officers there were extremely helpful and kind; but was really amazing was how Inkspot successively charmed the pants off dozens of returning American tourists, from the very moment we got in line at the ticket counter all through the Miami and DC airports. People would break out in smiles at her, try to pet her, ask us where we'd got her, talk about the dogs they'd met and fallen in love with in town, at the beach, in the markets, about how their friends had rescued a dog, or how they'd rescued a cat from Argentina (true story), or ask what we had to do.

What did we have to do? Take pity on a helpless, scrawny mutt we'd seen decline from a healthly and playful puppy who was cast out from her human family's house when she contracted mange and got sick. Get help from the local humane society (there are humane societies EVERYWHERE!, they're just over-burdened in general but can help you specifically when you ask), paid for veterinary care (with a discount since it was a humane society case), worked out a care, shelter, walking, and feeding schedule in combination with one of our colleagues and neighbors who also loves dogs (and has one of her own), setting up a temporary kennel in a screened-in porch. And give two months of TLC.

Once she was healthy enough for the surgery, we had the humane society's vet spay her so there won't be yet another series of puppy litters that no one particular is going to care for.

We shared before-, during- and after-pictures with friends and family, and my sister-in-law bit. She has her own house, with a fenced-in backyard, as well as a big heart. We paid for the shipping for Inkspot to accompany us on our R&R leave, as well as buying a correctly-sized travel crate. We'd crated-trained Inkspot using The Wee Atomic Beastie's* old (and now-too-damaged-for-shipment) travel crate as Inkspot's bed from the beginning of the rescue/rehab effort, so we simply swapped-out the bigger one for the new travel crate about two weeks before the flight.

Inkspot was cured of mange, of ticks and fleas, of at least one opportunistic/secondary infection, of tapeworms, of open sores and virtual hairlessness (and that during the worst of the cold/rainy season) and is now the spunkiest and most affectionate little wretch you've ever seen. She's now got her color back (along with her hair) that earned her the nickname "inky" due to her dark black fur, although the tail was the last part to recover, from it's nearly opposum-like baldness.

She's developed a thin white streak on her chest, a fondness for playing with doggie toys (which she'd never seen before), immediately took to walking on a leash (she's so proud walking on a leash with "her" people walking her), and adores running back and forth between too people calling her name, or in playing tug-of-war while growling fiercely with the neighbor's dog, a golden retriever three times her size, who growls fiercely back at her and takes care to not win too quickly.

She even managed to win her way into the heart of miss-cranky-pants herself, The Wee Atomic Beastie, who was a little jealous of all the attention lavished on Inkspot, but learned to go on walks together tolerently and even to play chase a little bit without loosing her temper at the obstreperous Inkspot.

Inkspot's new "mommy" will be coming by the house later today to get introduced. She's so excited to be meeting Inkspot; we'll all be going to Petsmart this evening to start getting her equipped.

*This userpic is The Wee Atomic Beastie, our very first rescue puppy from the Third World, who has been with us over six years now.
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
11:17 pm
Yesterday: leftover turkey in leftover gravy, over toast.

Today: leftover turkey in leftover gravy, heated and mixed with leftover rice from yesterday.
Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
6:39 pm
Veteran's Day
Thank you, my brothers and sisters.
Monday, October 6th, 2008
1:20 am
Planting in the Rainy Season
Planted so far:

Two citrus trees (one lime and another something I can't pronounce);

An avocado tree;

A dwarf banana plant;

Three agave plants;

A bunch of flowering stuff (bougainvillea, &tc.);

Four more agave plants, some basil, and a Traveler's Palm are in planters or pots and will be re-planted when they're further along.
Saturday, October 4th, 2008
2:59 am
promotion party
Awesome turnout at my pick-up (from scratch!) promotion party tonight! Everybody from the Ambassador on down showed up, including the second-ranking British diplomat and some of our local neighbors I was able to reach out to through Facebook.

A good time was had by all. With the assistance of Jose Cuervo (a dear old friend of mine) and Old Comiskey, I made the best margaritas.

The party was Kilt Optional.
Friday, October 3rd, 2008
11:35 am
I'm shocked, shocked I say....
to see my name on a promotion list.
Thursday, September 4th, 2008
1:52 am
Sarah Palin's speech at the RNC Convention
I watched Pres. Bush's speech yesterday, as well as former Sen. Thompson's: both decent speeches.

Tonight I watched Gov. Palin's speech.

Never in my life have I ever found a vice presidential candidate to be in any way politically exciting.

I'm excited about this v.p. candidate.
Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
1:52 am
The Last Centurian
John Ringo has a new book out, which Madam Atomic brought back to me as loot from her recent sojourn in the U.S.

Essentially, the story plays out, from the viewpoint of an infantry officer who grew up on a Minnesota farm, as a sort of "perfect storm" of four inter-related nightmare scenarios play out.

The four nightmare scenarios?

First, a bird flu pandemic, due to mutations that result in both avian-to-human and human-to-human transmission. You may not believe in it, but it might very well believe in you.

Second, climate change. Not Anthropogenic (human-caused) Global Warming (AGW for short), but climate change due to a decrease in solar activity. For those who've been paying attention to actual science, fluctuations in the sun's radiant output have a lot more to do with global temperatures and climate than anything humans have (or could) come up with this side of "nuclear winter."

Third, a Hillary Clinton presidency. Oh, he's changed the name, but his "President Warrick" is clearly Hillary, by politics and personal history. Let's just say John Ringo has a less than lofty opinion of either the junior senator from new york's politics, logical faculties, or her grip on reality. In the book, this results in less-than-optimum (read: catastrophic) responses to the other three disasters.

Fourth, the book posits a U.S. mission in Iran more-or-less along the same sort of lines as the Iraq regime-change and follow-on occupation, with contemporanous operations still going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His point-of-view infantry officer has, by that point, served tours in all three places and as the above three disasters spin out, is left to secure a logistics base in Iran (containing beeejeeellions of dollars worth of warfighting and support materiel) at the ass end of a no-longer-in-existance supply/support chain and has to get his troops home, Xenophon-style.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
12:45 am
headed for the island last weekend
And I even came back!

La Isla Bonita isn't _all_ that, but it was fun. The seafood was awesome, the hotel was nice, I enjoyed the pool, saw some nicely formed bikinis on the strand (it's so narrow I don't want to call it a "beach"), and even had an American breakfast on Sunday.

Out clubbing on Sat. night we even fielded a pick-up game of "thong or commando."
Sunday, July 20th, 2008
9:13 pm
TS Dolly
Another tropical storm on the way. It's been pouring intermittently since last night. The good news is that TIKI (tm) lights will stay lit in a torrential downpour.

Last night was the testbed event for the Tiki lights I bought yesterday, per MadamAtomic's instructions. She flew up to DC for fortnight yesterday and I took the trip's opportunity to hit some of the "real" stores in the city. Here in town, even though it's the capital, the stores are kind of limited in selection.

So per Her instructions, I threw a wheels-up party in her honor, complete to test-firing the new Tikis. Beer and wine were chilled, spirits were served, and I made a wicked batch of Smirnoff-based tropical punch.

Wrapped things up around two-ish.

Gotta go out now and pick up my pizza.
Sunday, July 13th, 2008
4:11 pm
Very busy this month. I have a staffing gap until the first week in August having had one of my (two) officers transfer out as scheduled. I planned to cover his job (visas) and let the other still-new officer continue to cover american citizen stuff. What I wasn't counting on was a double homicide which has kept him out of the office for most of the past week, and occupied with that (and a couple of natural causes death cases) when he was in the office. So I'm covering, essentially, for three officers, only one of whom is myself.

My messy desk is developing another sedimentary layer. The bottom layer appears to be undergoing the necessary heat and pressure to produce diamonds, which is nice.

My boss is leaving at the end of the month, his replacement won't get here until a bit later.

There really isn't a system to allow a decent handover of responsibilities in this business. Of course, except for relief-in-place handovers in a combat zone, the military is just as bad at this.

The weather has been much better since T/S Arthur dumped something like 10 inches of rain overnight and drowned more than a half-dozen people in the southern part of the country. There was nearly one American fatality due to the flooding and, during some subsequent heavy rains and flooding, another which can be directly attributed to it.
Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
1:39 am
Monday, June 16th, 2008
12:34 am
news from the tropics
A couple of weekends ago a tropical storm from the Pacific, called Alma, crossed overland across the continental divide and became an Atlantic storm named Arthur.

Arthur swung back inland over land and dumped more than 10 inches over parts of the country, causing major flooding which washed away houses, three bridges, and several people.

We didn't lose any Americans, but it was a close call in one case.

One of the bridges we lost is on the major highway linking the country from north to south. Its loss meant the southern half of the country was no longer linked by land to the northern two-thirds. There's a temporary fix now in place, but nothing that can be depended upon longterm. Medium- and longterm fixes are in the works, however.

We did lose two Americans in recent weeks, but due to natural causes. Not that any death case is cause for cheer, but one of the cases is particularly sad since he'd been out of touch with family in the States for about a decade. Nobody there has the means to pay for arrangements here so a pauper's burial is the likeliest outcome.

My new officer is getting a real baptism by fire in the Amcit services area. When my visa officer leaves early next month, we'll have a gap of about a month before the replacement gets here. I had been thinking about having my new officer covers visas during that month, but at this point I think I'll just take that on myself and let him continue to spread his wings with the Amcits.

He said to me the other day, feeling a bit overwhelmed, "Do you think I'll ever make a good consular officer?" He's a good consular officer now, but he's just an inexperienced (in terms of consular work) one. Most of his classmates are still in training for their first assignments and he's already out in the field doing the good work and fighting the good fight.
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